United States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor United States. Bureau of Foreign Commerce.

Consular reports, Issues 188-191 online

. (page 93 of 102)
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light, frivolous, under a system not calculated to the development of indi-
vidual character, difficult to impress and with but siight capacity to retain
lasting impression, the obligations of religion rest but lightly upon them.

Polygamy has disappeared, but it is replaced by a system under which
marriages are so easily and frequently contracted and abandoned that it
dispenses with an excuse for polygamy. Dishonesty, while but a petty vice,
petty perhaps because their temptations and their needs are small, is as
prevalent as at any time within the period of knowledge; while regard for
the truth, when opposed to interest or inclination, is not to be expected.

Missions are maintained and indefatigably prosecuted by the London
Missionary Society, the Wesleyan Mission, the Roman Catholic Church,
and, in a small way, by the Mormon Church. These churches all maintain
good schools, those of the London Mission and the Marists of the Catholic
Church being especially well conducted and prosperous.

At Malua, on the coast of Upolu, 12 miles to the west of Apia, the Lon-
don Mission maintains a theological seminary for the education of native
preachers— or missionaries, as all preachers and priests alike are termed in
the South Seas — with above two hundred students. The semicentennial
of this college was celebrated with impressive ceremonies last autumn. In
Apia, schools are maintained by the missions for both males and females,
and, indeed, schools are established at several places throughout the group.

It is estimated that the Catholic Church has 7,000 native communicants;
all the remaining four-fifths of the population are divided in membership
between the London and the Wesleyan missions, the former having much
the larger following, while the number of converts to the Mormon faith is
small and apparently shows little increase.

Foreign missionaries are still in control of the direction of the church
and educational interests, but especially through the facilities of the Malua
Seminary, the London mission is able to provide natives in response to all
demands for ministers and teachers.

It may be estimated that fully one-half of all persons over 20 years of
a^^e can read and write; with few exceptions, all of both sexes under that age
are educated to that extent. Beyond this, and the addition of elementary
arithmetic, education does not extend, save to those in the mission schools
designed for the ministry.

The Samoans seem, as would appear from what has been said, keenly
alive to the advantages of education. Every village without exception has
its resident pastor or ** faife'au.** He is at once minister and teacher, teach-
ing regularly the village school throughout the school year, besides attending
to his ministerial duties. In like manner, each village is provided with
its church — serving the purpose of schoolhouse as well — built of concrete



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SAMOA: GOVERNMENT, COMMERCE, PEOPLE, ETC. 72 I

composed of coral lime, in contradistinction to the wooden, beehive-shaped
houses which make up the remainder of the village.

These native pastors are paid by a contribution levied upon the whole
village, varying from $100 to J 150 per annum, in addition to which he has
the product of his own planting of taro, bananas, etc., and a share in the
other village supplies.

THE MUNICIPALITY OF APIA.

The municipality of Apia, from its liberal territorial extent, is rather a
district set apart for foreign residence and government than a mere town
site. Apia proper consists of a succession of large and small residences,
stores, and warehouses, irregularly distributed upon a winding lane which
encircles the bay of that name, following the sinuosity of the shore line.
The bay opens to the north. This roadway reaches from Vaiala, on the
east, to the furthermost point of Mulinuu, on the west — that *' finger of land
extending out into the sea" of Stevenson — probably a distance of 3 miles.
Well on toward the end of this slender peninsula, with its curved lines
of cocoanut palms, is situated the modest little frame dwelling of King
Malietoa, the only fruit of the wrecks of the American men-of-war lost in
the great hurricane of 1889, presented by the United States to Samoa. Here
also is situated the scattered cluster of native huts making up the village of
Mulinuu. This is the seat of Government, where is assembled the members
of the "Faipule,*' or native congress, charged with the serious duty of
governing Samoa, in which they, in fact, exercise an imaginary or rather
pantomimic part, little fitted even for that. Here they lounge and live and
sleep and unendingly — if with austere gravity, much drinking of ava, and an
almost ceaseless flow of oratory struggling for ascendency against the re-
sounding beach and the muffled roar of the outlying reef — legislate day after
day and month after month. Absenteeism finds no place on the calendar
of parliamentary Samoa. A few blows of a ponderous club upon a resonant
wooden trough, hollowed from a log — a Samoan drum — sets the members,
arrayed in flowing lavalavas, scrambling up from the inviting mats, out of
the little thatched houses, to solemnly assemble at a moment, to discuss in
echoing prolixity some petty village regulation or weighty measure of gov-
ernmental or international nloment. Mulinuu, the now citadel of govern-
ment, is not one of the ancient seats of Samoan authority, but a selection
of Steinberger.

The main beach road is tapped by a few other roads running back into
the country. Upon these side roads are scattered at intervals dwelling houses,
native and foreign, but nearly the entire number of the houses of foreigners
and all the business houses front upon the beach road.

All the houses, about two hundred and twenty-five in number, are built of
wood and many are two stories in height. On the side streets, on the outer
extremities of the main road, indeed directly upon it, and thickly situated to
the rear of the stores and houses which front upon it, are the houses of the



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722 SAMOA: GOVERNMENT, COMMERCE, PEOPLE, ETC.

natives — the typical Samoan house. The effect upon the whole, with the
frequent interspersion of cocoanut palms, high in air over all, the white line
of the surf tossing out to the front, the dark, wooded mountains — partly
hidden by passing clouds, like floating scarfs drifting in the wind — as a
background, is to present an attractive scene, at once picturesque and typical
of the South Seas.

The last official census, taken in 1893, gave a total population of 826.
For some inexplicable reason, this enumeration intended to determine the
actual white and half-caste population, yet includes as well children and all
Samoans and others employed in or making part of the households of for-
eigners (white men). The actual white adult population was 255. This
was distributed as follows : British, 113; Germans, 99; Americans, 16; the
remainder among other nationalities. Under the system of enumeration
first mentioned, the British numbered 247, Germans 151, and Americans
71. There are 179 qualified voters.

I feel satisfied the actual white population has since, by death and re-
moval, declined somewhat. In all Samoa, outside of Apia, there is no means
by reference to data either recent or of long standing to determine the white
population. To arrive at this, I have made inquiries of persons well ac-
quainted with the islands, and the highest estimate I have had gives the
number of half-castes and white as 170. It is, I believe, certain that the
entire white adult male population of the Kingdom does not amount to over
400. In these estimates, supported by so little trustworthy data, I prefer to
err on the side of liberality, and, accordingly, in this report assume the
number of persons of the class mentioned to amount to 500, but this is
greatly in excess of the actual number.

The census quoted made no enumeration of Samoans not residing in the
houses of foreigners, yet living within the municipality. The total urban
population is, therefore, but approximate, estimated to be between 1,800
and 2,000.

There are 27 stores, large and small; 2 weekly newspapers, 3 lawyers, i
physician, 3 blacksmith shops, 6 bakeries, 2 photographers, i drug store, 2
hotels, and 8 saloons.

On the basis of the white population cited (Samoans are prohibited from
buying liquor), there are nearly one-third as many saloons as there are stores,
and it seems to require one saloon to assuage the thirst of about every thirty-
two adult males of the white population, yet it must be remembered that Apia
is a seaport, much frequented by men-of-war.

There are two churches — a Catholic for whites and natives alike and a
Protestant church exclusively for whites, besides some small native Protestant
churches.

There is no public free school. Although there is but one physician, who
is port and municipal health officer as well, a very large proportion of the
medical practice of the town and vicinity is gratuitously performed by the sur-
geons of the men-of-war lying in port during the greater part of the year.



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Samoa: government, commerce, people, etc. 723

Of the stores, five are rather extensive jobbing and retail houses, while
of the remainder several are so small as to scarcely merit enumeration.

The cost of living is high, as might be expected where, in effect, all the
staple articles of food are imported. In addition to this cause, the volume
of goods sold is not great at best, with sales divided among many dealers
who, to maintain themselves on a limited business, must make a large per-
centage on the amount sold. The volume of imports being necessarily sta-
ple, a competition in price necessarily exists; therefore, the cost of staple
articles is not so great as in lines running on to the innumerable class of ar-
ticles outside of prime necessaries. A uniform price for anything is recog-
nized or arrived at in but a few commodities. Prices vary with the chance
demand and the extent of the supply on hand. It is therefore impossible
to give a reliable list of prices for the articles that enter chiefly into consump-
tion, save in a few instances. Keg beef, tinned meats, coal oil, and one or
two other articles have a fixed price. Most other merchandise is apt to be
held by the seller at a price fixed by himself, on a knowledge of the greater
or less supply believed to be on hand in the town. Subject to these condi-
tions, the following prices are believed to be nearly correct : Flour, J3 to $4
per cwt.; bread, i2j^ cents per loaf; ham. New Zealand, 25 to 30 cents;
American, somewhat less, but will not keep so well in this climate; salt keg
beef, 6 cents; fresh beef, 18 cents; potatoes, 3 to 4 cents — from $1.80 to
^2.40 per bushel; tinned biscuit, 3^ cents; granulated sugar, 10 to 12
cents; coal oil, 30 cents a gallon.

Wages are correspondingly high. Carpenters (foreign) receive from ^3
to |5 per day ; painters, I2.50 to ^3; white laborers, $2 to §2.50 per day;
native laborers, $1; and native rough carpenters, ^i to I1.50. As these
prices, in a small community, would of themselves indicate, employment is
unsteady and a price must be had for the days of labor to equalize those of
enforced idleness.

Employment in a community of little prosperity or activity is found,
especially by the new arrival, with great difficulty, and I have seen many
cases of great distress where persons, lured by flattering accounts, have come
to these islands to seek situations without the precaution of preliminary in-
quiry. Such persons naturally bring little means, and this is soon exhausted.
Once here, they are forced to make the best of it, for distances are great and
passage rates greatly higher than on the Atlantic seaboard.

At least in the existing situation, and in the future, as far as I am able to
foresee, there is nothing whatever to encourage the mechanic, laborer, or
other immigrant to seek a home in these islands.

PRISONS.

There is in the Kingdom no penal institution in the nature of a peniten-
tiary other than a common jail. The prisoners, during the period of con-
finement, are employed in repairing and weeding the roadways of the town.
They are scantily supplied with food, and are in the main supported by sup-
plies furnished by relatives.



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724 SAMOA: GOVERNMENT, COMMERCE, PEOPLE, ETC.

There are at present sixteen prisoners, fifteen of whom are natives and
one a Chinaman. The distinction between felony and misdemeanor is some-
what uncertain here, but six of these persons may be said to have been found
guilty of felonies and nine of misdemeanors. There is no female in prison.

AMERICAN CITIZENS AND THEIR INTERESTS.

As has been stated, the registered British subjects exceed in number those
of any other nationality. This large number is for the greater part half-
caste, natives of Samoa, the children of British subjects. The German and
American registry is made up in part, but in less proportion. So the Ameri-
can holdings of lands fall behind those of the other two.

The American interest is made up in much the greater part by the lands
of the Polynesian Land Company; that of the British, in probably a like
proportion, by that of the estate of Cornwall, before mentioned.

Aside from the lands of the Polynesian Land Company, it is doubtful if
the entire united ownership of lands by Americans will aggregate i,ooo
acres.

Two American houses do the largest business done in the island next after
the German firm, and the most enterprising business men in Samoa are
Americans. The wealthiest man in the islands, by common repute, is an
American, a native of New Jersey; but that which is regarded as great wealth
here would be considered a modest provision in any small American city.

In conflict with the figures quoted from the municipal census, the whole
number of American citizens registered in this consulate-general as claim-
ing the protection of the United States is 32. In addition, there are 3
native-born Americans and i naturalized citizen who have not registered. Of
the 32 mentioned, 12 are American born, 9 are naturalized citizens of foreign
birth, and 11 are Samoan half-castes of American fathers. Of those so reg-
istered, as above stated, 19 are married; but no American citizen is married
to a white woman, all having found Samoan wives.

One hundred and nineteen persons are on the registry as children of
American fathers. Some of these were born as far back as i860, but most
of them since 1880. Doubtless some of these are themselves now fathers of
families, and it is probable the greater part of them are dead. There is now
no means of determining the number of these living or the number of those
living still remaining in the Kingdom.

COMMERCE IN 1 89 4.

The entire import of Samoa for 1894 amounted to I45 1,389; its entire
export, to 1316,473. The excess of import over export was 1134,916.

Of this import, §68,252 came from the United States, ^^82,400 from Ger-
many, and $274,955 from the British colonies, while §7,268 came from
England.

These figures are, to some extent, misleading; for instance, a part of the
import from the Australian colonies consisted of goods which came from
the United States, such as coal oil, fencing wire, and other articles. All the



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SAMOA: GOVERNMENT, < OMMERCE, PEOPLE, ETC.



725



coal oil comes from the United States, going from New York to Sydney in
sailing vessels, where it is distributed always in 5-gallon tins, in which form
it is sold all over the Pacific. A large part of the import from these colonies
consists of coal imported by the German firm for German war vessels.

The following table gives the general volume of imports and their pro-
portion and distribution :

Imports into Samoa in i8g4.



Character of merchandise.



Malt liquors, spirits, tobacco, cigars, and

arms*

All other merchandise^

Copra in bond...



United
States.



#3.630
64,622



Germany.



58,144



Australian
colonies.



#17,839
257, "6



Great
Britain.



Jtl,2l8

6,050



Other
( ountries.



Total.,



68,352 I 82,400 274,95s



7,268



#733
5,49<>
12,285

i8,5M



Total.



#47,676

39', 428

12,285

451.389



*Of the ^7,676, value of liquors of all kinds, cigars, tobacco, and arms imported, the same goods to the
extent of #9,383 were exported in bond, leaving the value of articles under th.s h<ad actually consumed in
Samoa, #37,199.

From the preceding table, it will be seen that liquors, cigars, tobacco, and
arms constituted ^47,676 of the value of the imports. The remainder of
the import, other than copra in bond, amounted to ^391,428, covering all
other merchandise, was imported by each nationality as follows: Americans,
$61,117; Germans, J 1 89, 295; British, j;85, 616; other nationalities, $55,399.

All merchandise, other than liquor, cigars, tobacco, arms, and gunpowder,
subject to specific duties, is liable to an import duty of 2 per cent ad valorem.
All duties are fixed by the treaty: Malt liquor, 50 cents per dozen quarts;
spirits, $2.50; wine, $1; sparkling wine, $1.50 per gallon; tobacco, 50 cents;
cigars, %\ per pound; guns, $4 each; powder, 25 cents per pound.

Leaving out of view all general merchandise not subject to specific duties,
the following table presents the quantities of each of the articles imported
subject to such specific duties. It presents, as well, the proportions of the
import made by citizens of the several nationalities.

Of the malt liquor, more than three-fourths was imported by Germans,
the Americans following next; and something in excess of i gallon of spirits
was imported to every 4 gallons of malt liquor. Counting the white papula-
tion at 500 — an overliberal count — the import of 7,260 pounds of tobacco
would allow about 14^^ pounds to each individual.

Natives are not allowed to buy guns, so for the same white population an
import of 204 sporting guns was made in one year, in addition to some hun-
dreds in the few preceding years. Of these 204, one was imported by an
American, all the rest by Germans.

A gun can only be imported by special license from the president. This
large importation of guns into a country where there is no game is in con-
trast with the profession of the president of his earnest wish to arrest the
introduction of arms.



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726



SAMOA: c;OVEkNMENT, COMMERCE, PEOPLE, ETC.



The following table shows the quantities of the several articles named,
imported into Samoa, subject to specific duties under the Berlin treaty.
Schedule A, i to 8, and the quantities imported by each of the several nation-
alities named for 1894:



Ameri-
cans.



((crmans. British.



Mall liquors gallons..

Spirits do

Still wine do

Sparkling wine do

Tobacco pounds..

Cigars do

Sporting arms number..

Powder pounds..



Other na-
tionalities..



396


ir,96o


588


1.516 i


484


2,719


711


492 1


214


1,646


286


472


ao


J70


4


x8


250


4,816


1,460


734


146


757


32


376


I


203
50






M4




50





ao,46o

4.406

a,6iS

212

7,a:o

1,311

204

244



From the next table it will be seen that of the whole value of articles
paying specific duties, the Americans were the next largest importers after
the Germans, leading the British considerably. Of the entire import of
articles so classed ($47,676), beer amounted to ^25,396 and wines and liquors
of all kinds to ^16,746. The German import was nearly three times that of
the American and British combined, and of this entire import they brought
in articles to the value of ^34,291.

The following table shows the value of articles of merchandise subject to
specific duties under the Berlin treaty, Schedule A, i to 8, imported into
Samoa in 1894, excluding all that might be classed as general merchandise,
other than wines, liquors, sporting arms, and gunpowder. The table also
shows the nationality of the importers and the values (fractions of a dollar
not reckoned) imported by each nationality :



Articles.



Malt liquors

Spirits

Siill wine

Sparkling whie

Tobacco

Cigars

Sporting arms..
Gunpowder...'...

Total



Imported by —



Ameri-
cans.



British.



Other na-
tionalities.



$2,995 #»9.77i
1,089 I 6,118
3.292
1,360
1,208
1,513

15



*735 . 11,895



428
160 I

63 I
292

5
44

5,076 I



34,29»



1,600


1,007


9,814


572


944


5,236


32


144


1,696


365


184


X.ftM


64


752


».6ao

x,oao




>5


74


3.368


4,941


47.676



Total.



*»5.396



An examination of the following table exhibits the entire customs revenue
of the Kingdom derived from imports to be $23,069.99. Of this, liquors,
tobacco, etc., under the specific schedule, yielded 115,902.06. The duty
on the remaining import, including every other imported commodity, yielded
but $7,167.93. That is, the specific schedule of ^47,676 yielded some-



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SAMOA: GOVERNMENT, COMMERCE, PEOPLE, ETC.



727



thing in excess of double the revenue derived from 1391,427 worth of general
merchandise under ad valorem. Again, while 20,460 gallons of malt liquor
paid but $3,554.13 duty, 4,406 gallons of spirits paid revenue to the amount
of $6,421. 79. Of the total import revenue, Germans paid $14,913.20,
Americans $2,383.66, and British $2,722.20.



Articles.



Malt liquor

Spirits

Siill wine

Sparkling wine..

Tobacco

Cigars

Sporting arms....
Gunpowder



Total

Paid on all other merchandise..



Grand total..



Paid bv-



' Americans.



?3^.oo

406.72

71.63



<2,80i


99


4, 443


01


1,279


27


252


10


1,129.91 1


454


67


800


00


343


75



154.00
115.50

36.00
18.50

1,171.35 11,505-79
1,212.31 I 3.407-41

2,383. 66 14,913.30



Other na-
tionalities.



^M3-4-

905- 43

147.00

24.00

146. 50

3-50 ;



Total.



$238. 73


^3.554.13


666.63


6,421.79


307. »3


1,805.13


18.00


294. 19


a78. 75


1,709.16


285.24


858.91


48.00


884.00


12.50


374. 75



1,3^9.84
1, 352.36 I

I



1,85508
1,195-85



15,902.06

7.167.93



2,722.20 3,050.93 33,069.99



The next table presents a comparison of the quantities of each of the
articles subject to specific duties imported in the year 1894, as measured by
each of the two preceding years. Every article shows an increase except
tobacco and gunpowder, which fall off greatly. The import of beer in-
creased from 8,197 gallons in 1892 and 12,910 gallons in 1893 to 20,460 gal-
lons in 1894; spirits increased from 1,824 gallons in 1892 and 3,421 gallons
in 1893 ^o 4j4o6 gallons in 1894.

So, to repeat, the import of sporting guns, which the authorities are so
earnest to repress, grew from 79 in 1892 to 204 in 1894, a curiously suggest-
ive increase for a mere handful of whites in a country bare of game. From
these figures it is evident that every white man is possessed of something
more than a gun each.

Quantitiis of the principal dutiable articles imported during the years iSgj^ i8gj^ and i8g4.



Articles.



189a.



»893-



18-^4.



Malt liquors gallons.. !

Spirits do

Still wine do

Sparkling wine... do

Tobacco.. pMiunds...

Cigars.. do

Gunpowder do

Sporting arms pieces...



8,197


12,910


20,460


1,824


3.421


4,406


1,297


1,840


2,618


88


"32


312


1,90a


20,674


7,260


566


93 «


1,3"


2,936


4,230


244


79


167


204



I present, in the next table, the exports of the Kingdom for 1894, con-
sisting of but three articles. This export was confined to Germans and



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728



SAMOA: GOVERNMENT, COMMERCE, PEOPLE, ETC.



British, the American merchants, who figure favorably as importers, failing
to be credited with a single export.

This table and the next following present in compendious form the his-
tory of the entire export of the islands for the past year. It will be seen
that of the total, ^316,473, goods in bond amounted to ^48,963.



Art ides of export for i8g4 subject to dutVy tjuanHties of each^ the totals and nationalUies of

the exporters.



Articles.



Copra...
Colton..,
Coffee..



Exported by —
British.



, Germans



Tons.
6, i24^i
69.H



Tarn.



Tt*ns.
894' 6,ai4\i

I ^>i

8



Value of all exports for iSg^y value of each leading article ^ amount exported by each of tfu
nationalities enumerated^ and the total export.



Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor United States. Bureau of Foreign CommerceConsular reports, Issues 188-191 → online text (page 93 of 102)